The Dos and Don’ts of Christmas Lights

It’s almost time to deck the halls and sing some carols. Thanksgiving is only days away, and Christmas time will be right on its heels.

Are you already planning your outdoor Christmas lights display for this year? At The Happy Outlet, we want to encourage all of our customers to decorate safely. Here are some dos and don’ts of Christmas lights from our team of electricians.


  • Purchase Christmas lights and equipment rated for outdoor use.

Electrical decorations and supplies rated for outdoor use can handle winter’s extra moisture and precipitation. Don’t risk using indoor decorations outside since they are not designed to withstand the elements and could be dangerous if exposed to water.

  • Upgrade to LED bulbs.

If you plan on replacing some or all of your Christmas lights this year, consider opting for LED bulbs. LEDs use anywhere between 25% – 80% less energy than regular incandescent bulbs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They can also last 3-25 times longer. LED lights will save you money on your utility bill for December, and they are much better for the environment.

  • Inspect extension cords, light strands, power strips, and other equipment.

If you use the same lights for many years in a row, they might be starting to wear out. Check for worn or frayed cords, exposed wires, or any other damage that might be dangerous. Investing in some new lights will be a lot less expensive than dealing with the aftermath of an electrical fire.

  • Plug Christmas lights into grounded GFCI outlets.

Make sure all of your outdoor outlets are grounded with three prong holes and have GFCI receptacles with “test” and reset” buttons. GFCIs are designed to protect you from electrocution.


  • Overload your circuit breakers.

If you need to plug in several strands of lights, use power strips with surge protection. Don’t daisy chain tons of lights together and wind up tripping your circuit breakers or causing a fire.

  • Use inadequate extension cords.

If your extension cords have frayed wires or loose prongs, throw them out and replace them. If your extension cords are too short, don’t try to stretch them. Buy longer ones that better suit your display.

  • Hang up your lights solo.

Use the buddy system if you plan on climbing on a ladder or your roof. Make sure there is someone else around to hold your ladder steady or call for help if there is an accident.

We hope you use these dos and don’ts of Christmas lights while decorating this holiday season!

Ensure your household stays safe throughout the holiday season with these essential safety tips! But before you plug in those Christmas lights, give us a call for any electrical repairs or electrical upgrades you need to make them shine.

For electrical repairs, replacements, or upgrades in your Carson City home, contact The Happy Outlet! Give us a call at 833-2B-HAPPY to schedule an appointment and get started. Donate seven cans of food for FISH Holiday Baskets and receive 5% OFF your total invoice for any service.